Swarovski

Crystal World Sparkle 2017

satis&fy sets the stage for light festival at Swarovski Crystal Worlds

The “Garden of the Giant”, an extensive park landscape around the Swarovski Crystal Worlds art museum, is a visitor attraction.

Now, for the first time, the site in the Inn Valley, designed by André Heller, became the venue for a special festival: over 20 days, from January 30 to February 19, 2017, installations of light and sound that were exceptionally worth seeing took place after sunset.
Responsible for the creation of the light festival is the artist collective phase7 performing.arts.
Behind it are Björn Hermann (Björn Hermann lichtdesign), Sven Sören Beyer (Artistic Director), Frieder Weiss (Visual Art) and Christian Steinhäuser (Music Director). The production management for the project was in the hands of StudioNOW Berlin, the decision for the technical implementation fell on satis&fy AG. The company had already worked for the Austrian crystal specialists in the past. Decisive for the choice of the technical service provider was also the high demand of the task and conception, as well as the quality of the used material and the special handling with it. The task was not to equip an exhibition hall, but a four-hectare outdoor installation with more than 800 different spotlights and light sources, including numerous ASTERA AX3 and AX10, which were controlled wirelessly via a LumenRadio transmitter system.

Equipment in lofty heights

The wall, a hill that flanks the park on the left for more than 300 linear meters, was equipped with 56 Clay Paky Mythos spotlights – a difficult undertaking, as there was deep snow at the time of installation and all the spots, which were installed at six-meter intervals, had to be rainproof and theft-proof. Shooting even further and sharper into the sky were 20 Clay Paky Supersharpys on the facility’s glazed play tower, here a laser system from the company Laserfabrik was also used.

With the local crane company, the necessary material was brought up to a height of 20 meters in order to now make the spotlights, which had been moved into position and installed on an elaborately leveling truss construction, wind- and rain-proof for the playing time. Over several kilometers, the spotlights painted wonderful formations in the night sky and connected as the starting point of the installation with the total work of art, which lighting designer Björn Hermann and Sven Sören Beyer set up and programmed over several days with the satis&fy team.

Technology between frost and wetness

The weather conditions proved to be a particular challenge during the 12-day installation. Temperatures ranging from +5 degrees during the day to -20 degrees at night can take their toll not only on the crew setting up in the early morning and later evening hours, but also on the technology.

The six stations placed on the site, which provided power and signal distribution for the light sources and sound system, had to be tempered with rack heaters and protected from moisture. Stiffly frozen cables also needed fan heaters during set-up in order to flow smoothly through their hands again. So it took all kinds of improvisational talent to brave the cold.

No way too far

Equally challenging was the vastness of the site. In the end, the entire lighting system was to be controlled centrally from one position, but during the set-up and setup phase it was still necessary to be able to work on the show simultaneously with several consoles on the site. For smooth signal distribution across four hectares, 14 DMX universes (and almost 6500 parameters) had to be made available everywhere on the site without delay, while it was decided without further ado that the house network technology was ideally suited for this purpose. Quickly, a self-sufficient signal supply was initialized at the various highlight points via the possible tapping points of the system and translated to the signal language of the lighting and sound technology.

But not only the range of the technology, also that of a light technician was remarkable. For example, the crew members’ fitness trackers could show as much as 16 to 20 kilometers of mileage after work. The use of large and motorized equipment was not an option during the ongoing visitor traffic – because of the deep snow, analog broad-tired Boller carts and sledged vehicles were the means of choice.

Perfect interplay of light and sound

In order for the installation to become a perfect and mystical-looking work of art, the specially composed sound background had to be interwoven with the lighting programming.

The sound file was synchronized with the light system (HOG4) by means of a time code signal. It seemed as if the composer of the music was conducting the spotlights over the Crystal Worlds like an orchestra for 20 minutes at a time – an effect that caused amazed looks and open mouths of the visitors.

Sound towers clad in snow-white complemented the existing house system and blended harmoniously with the look of the white snow-covered landscape. During the soft opening two days before the actual opening, final touches could be made; one or two service technicians remained on site for the duration of the festival to guarantee smooth operations at all times.

All those involved in production, technicians and designers alike, draw a positive conclusion, including a satisfied customer, amazed visitors and brightly and artistically illuminated Swarovski Crystal Worlds – mission accomplished.

Pictures: Sandra Sommerkamp